YA may know what is going on, but the behaviour on Nest 1 continues to confuse mere mortals. At about 10.45 this morning the dark headed female who had been present when YA returned from migration made an appearance. Readers of recent posts may recall that it was a few days before he took to her, but until another female came along she was ‘the one’. But on 19 April his mate (almost certainly) from 2012 landed. She was greeted with enthusiasm by YA and it looked as if she would resume her place at his side. But today he flew in and mated with the dark headed bird. During the morning she stayed on the nest much of the time and there were several mating attempts. She left the nest late morning. YA came in with a large stick, preened, scooped the egg cup and seemed content with events. Then at 13.13 in flew the 2012 mate. She stayed about 20 minutes with YA on an opposite edge of the nest. Mating wasn’t seen.
After a bit of a lull in nest activity, the dark headed female came onto the nest at about 14.30. YA followed and after mantling there was more mating. After that, there was some flying around and brief landings on the nest before the power went off at 17.00. So is the new female winning a battle for YA? Established pairs mostly do stick together, but perhaps one year isn’t enough to really bond in YA’s case. He spent 12 days with the new bird around before his 2012 mate came back – can he tell eggs are on the way? Time will tell who he eventually selects.
Meanwhile Nest 2 action is much more sedate. Both birds were around today but no mating was observed and in the afternoon the female settled onto the egg cup. As on 18 April, she looked as though she was preparing to lay, but shortly before power went off she left the nest. Maybe tomorrow?!